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  • J MSDF demoting military officers with NJ spouses (UPDATED)

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on June 30th, 2007

    Hi Blog. We’ve heard rumors of this before in the past, and it turns out they were true: Imagine the uproar that would ensue in the US if the US military or State Department (with their high numbers of international spouses) were to engage in these sorts of practices–treating their employees as untrustworthy because they married foreigners, naturally all suspectable as spies! Debito in Sapporo

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    MSDF officers with foreign spouses to be moved from sensitive posts
    Japan Today, Thursday, June 28, 2007 at 05:00 EDT

    http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/410685
    Courtesy of Ben at The Community and Ken at Trans Pacific Radio

    TOKYO — The Maritime Self-Defense Force plans to move officers with
    foreign spouses away from posts with access to military secrets after
    sensitive data was leaked through an officer with a Chinese wife, the
    Sankei Shimbun reported Wednesday.

    The MSDF will start the transfers from Aug of 10 officers who are
    married to non-Japanese nationals and who have access to high-level
    military secrets. The paper said the move is aimed at protecting
    military secrets in the wake of an embarrassing leak of confidential
    information on the U.S.-developed high-tech Aegis combat system, the
    conservative daily said.

    About 150 officers out of a total of 40,000 are married to foreign
    nationals, according to the daily. Of them, 100 are Chinese, it said.

    A 33-year-old petty officer allegedly obtained confidential data on
    the Aegis system without authorization. The leak came to light after
    the officer’s Chinese wife was arrested in January for a visa
    violation.

    However, an unconfirmed newspaper report later said the leak may have
    occurred by accident when the officer was swapping pornography over
    the Internet.

    ENDS
    ========================================

    UPDATE JULY 3 2007. FEEDBACK FROM CYBERSPACE, ANONYMIZED:

    First of all naturally I’d like to thank you for your
    website over the years. Being in a lower class
    position in Japan and often singled out not only for
    the usual xenophobic pressures we encounter here but
    also for my subcultural status your website has long
    been a necessary resource.

    I was writing today to alert you of something
    disturbing I recently encountered with regards to the
    Japanese self defense force. This might be something
    you’re already aware of or have written on within the
    website (I attempted to search but honestly… there’s
    simply too much there to be sure I covered
    everything). My current spouse is in the SDF and
    the other day I learned a very disturbing fact about
    the nature of our relationship — when he is on base
    and when he talks to his military associates I am
    Japanese.

    The reason for this he says is a very old rule in the
    SDF that members are not allowed to fraternize with
    foreigners. Period. And that while the penalty for
    him is negligible (normal disciplinary action, which
    judging from the times he’s stayed over late and
    arrived late at base can’t be that bad) his violation
    of this rule could bring the military police to my
    doorstep for interrogation and a search and seizure of
    my electronic equiptment. He believes it’s more
    doubtful as I’m non-Asian but says this has happened
    recently with the Chinese wives of SDF personnel.

    Naturally, I’m a bit angry about all of this. I can’t
    blame my spouse — like I said, my friends are in
    the low class spectrum and the benefits and pay for
    the SDF really outweigh a lot of the problems, very
    similar to the argument for many military outfits.
    However on the broad scale of institutionalized racism
    this digs under my skin. I’m a national security risk
    because I’m not Japanese? My spouse couldn’t cite the
    wording of the law but I’m curious — how are second
    and third generation citizens perceived? It’s the
    grey “gaijin” box again.

    This situation with him I find sadly comical. Already
    he has to keep large parts of his hobby at my house
    lest his superiors think he’s a communist out against
    the emperor and now with me he has to leave all his
    photos of me at my house. On his cell phone he uses
    the Japanese version of my name for my information and
    my e-mail address is kept anonymous like all these
    english texts are from some stranger with no
    connection. A bit depressing.
    ========================================
    ENDS

    4 Responses to “J MSDF demoting military officers with NJ spouses (UPDATED)”

    1. Dan Says:

      Debito
      I may just be getting paranoid about this as we start making plans to move to Japan, but does it seem to you that there is a real wave of anti-NJ feeling over the last 6 months? I mean, one that is more noticeable than usual?
      It could just be timing, or a heightened sensitivity to such things in light of our plans, but it is enough to give a guy second thoughts and only adds fuel to the fire of arguments from those who have vested interests in us not leaving (aggrieved grandparents mostly).
      D

      –NOT SURE HOW THIS RELATES TO THE TOPIC AT HAND, BUT QUICK ANSWER: I SHOULDN’T WORRY. JUST COME HERE IF YOU WANT AND LIVE YOUR LIFE. THERE ARE MANY JAPANS AND MANY LIFESTYLES, AND THERE IS NO SAYING WITH ANY CERTAINTY WHETHER YOU’LL HAVE A BAD TIME. CHANCES ARE IT’LL BE JUST FINE, WITH SOME OCCASIONAL IRRITATIONS WHICH ARE NOT ALWAYS NECESSARILY DIRECTED TOWARDS NJ. DEBITO

    2. Joe Says:

      This actually isn’t that surprising. I’ve heard stories of people in the US govt who have been denied security clearances because of their foreign spouse (or even a foreign girlfriend/boyfriend).

      But a categorical distinction sounds very dangerous. If the MOD is too lazy to conduct a proper background check on these people, it shouldn’t be surprised that secrets are leaking out.

    3. Jon Says:

      I do not agree with the MSDF moves but the article does not say they are being demoted. Demoted means being reduced in rank and pay. The article only states they are being transferred. Your blog post title is very missleading. Thank you.

      –SORRY. NOT TRYING TO MISLEAD. BEING TRANSFERRED AND BEING DEPRIVED OF SECURITY CLEARANCE (BASED NOT ON ANY BEHAVIOR EXCEPT FOR THE HEINOUS ACT OF MARRYING A FOREIGNER) MEANS A REDUCTION IN JOB STATUS. THAT’S A DEMOTION, IN MY VIEW. SIX OF ONE… DEBITO

    4. Liberal Japan » Blog Archive » SDF and foreign spouses: Is America any different? Says:

      [...] Debito has a thought provoking post about J MSDF demoting military officers with NJ spouses. [...]

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